Friendship

Friends

I’ll be there for you……

One thing that I have really come to value is friendship.

I often find myself wondering, “Where would I be without my friends?” Since migrating to Chicago five years ago, away from the comforts and familiarities of home, I have needed my fair share of support.

This support has come in many forms. Sometimes, it was laying a weary head on a caring shoulder. Other times, it was sound advice. Still, there were times when I was fed, clothed, given shelter and, frankly, just tolerated.

The value of friendship is something that cannot be understated, as it is one of the greatest gifts given to us by God. You cannot really put a price on friendship; being able to genuinely share yourself with someone, without reservation, is probably the most delightful thing in life.

Not only is friendship a great pleasure, it seems as if it may be a true necessity. Life is not so enjoyable without anyone else to share in it. Heck, even Jesus said that the much-despised Roman tax collectors of his day had friends (Matthew 5:46).

Life without friendship is not only difficult to enjoy, but really an overall strain. Ecclesiastes 4:8-10 gives this commentary:

There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless—a miserable business!

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

Indeed, I truly do pity anyone who is without a friend. I could not imagine the times that I have fallen had there been no one there to pick me up. Even the modest accomplishments in my life have so much more value because of those with whom I am able to share them.

Amidst the fluctuations of life, our friends offer us a modest sense of stability. Proverbs 17:17 reads, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” In our most trying times, the love and support of a friend aides, strengthens and encourages us, even when things may look bleak.

Truth be told, this is why Jesus was very upset with the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. Facing the ultimate test and God’s pending wrath, Jesus is in fervent prayer, so much so that “his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:44).

Having given his three closest friends—Peter, James and John—the commission to “keep watch with [him]” (Matthew 26:38b), Jesus returns only to find them….sleeping. Though Jesus had previously told these three that his “soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matt. 26:38a), he returns to his dismay to find that his most trustworthy companions were not doing a very good job of supporting him. He says, in Matthew 26:40, “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?”

Jesus experienced what we will all experience at one point or another—disappointment. Proverbs 27:6, however, gives us this assurance: “Wounds from a friend can be trusted.”

Even though the actions of a friend may sometimes come into conflict with our notion of friendship, we know that we can trust the heart of a genuine friend. This was even the case with the disciples.

We always emphasize the fact the disciples were sleeping when Jesus finds them, and rightfully so. But, were they asleep because they did not care about Jesus? Having heard of the severity of the hour from Jesus’ own mouth, can we assume that Peter, James and John being asleep was a reflection of carelessness?

On the contrary, Luke 22:45-46 records, “When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. ‘Why are you sleeping?’ he asked them. ‘Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.’”

The disciples, themselves, became sorrowful because of Jesus’ sorrow. Their care and concern for the Savior became so great, that it lead to exhaustion. In fact, they worried about Jesus to the point of not considering themselves. Jesus, then, has to tell the three that they need keep watch for their sake, not his.

Even with Job’s three friends, we place major emphasis on the accusations and hurtful things said in the conversation that comprises most of the book—and rightfully so. However, they certainly did not hate Job. In fact, Job 2:11-14 says:

When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.

When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.

Do these people sound unsupportive to you? The retorts that Job’s friends offer to his plea of innocence did not come from jealous, envious or hateful hearts. Rather, what you see is genuine concern on their part, as they are convinced Job’s calamity befell him because of sin and, as a result, urge him to confess and repent.

Our friends may not always understand, but we know that they will always be there—those who are genuinely friends.

I say with a grateful heart, because I am a Christian, I have a friend that always understands and is always present. Where would I be without Jesus? How could I live without his love?

You could not ask for a better friend! He never leaves (Hebrews 13:5), never changes (Heb. 13:8), is faithful (2 Timothy 2:13), loving and self-sacrificing (Galatians 2:20).

More than anything else, friendship with God is to be desired, as it is man’s greatest privilege. This friendship is so valuable, that Jesus paid the ultimate price for us to have it. Much the same way the man in Ecclesiastes is to be pitied for having fallen with no one to help him up, I pity those who are “without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

For those of you who have befriended God, take full advantage of it. Talk to him, walk with him, learn from him and follow him.

Trust me, there is nothing better.

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~ by christianballenger on September 27, 2012.

2 Responses to “Friendship”

  1. Very well written and accurate! I have no idea where I would be without my friends. I am actually hoping to move to Chicago in about 8 months where I know absolutely no one, so it is going to be important to stay in contact with people and also reach out and meet others!

  2. This really blessed my life this morning. Friendship is a blessing. I think you could turn this into a series lol…..calling it the ministry of friendship.

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